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Headlines: Sessions Reiterates Marijuana’s Federally Illegal

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Headlines: Sessions Reiterates Marijuana’s Federally Illegal

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated in testimony before the House Appropriations Committee that state-legal marijuana businesses still face the potential of federal law enforcement, no matter what President Trump may have told Sen. Cory Gardner. [SESSIONS CLIP: “Look, let’s be frank. What they’d like is a statement that they’ve been provided safety, a safe harbor. I don’t believe I can give that.”] When pressed by Congressman Derek Kilmer of Washington about what he should tell constituents in his state’s cannabis business, Sessions again cited the supremacy of federal law. [SESSIONS CLIP: “It remains a violation of federal law. That’s not off the books. The federal law is still enforceable throughout the country.”]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke to WKDZ Radio about the potential of industrial hemp for Kentucky. [MCCONNELL CLIP: “But we think it certainly has a future, maybe a big future. But first we have to make it legal, and that’s what we intend to do in this year’s Farm Bill.”] The Farm Bill sets agricultural policy for the United States. McConnell has already filed separate legislation to legalize hemp. The previous iteration of the bill is often cited by CBD advocates as justification for their products’ legality, which McConnell unwittingly underscores as he raves about the utility of hemp. [MCCONNELL CLIP: “Hemp could end up in your car’s dashboard, it could end up in your food, it could end up in your medicine.”]

[GAETZ CLIP: “Today 25 members of Congress have joined in filing the Medical Cannabis Research Act.”] Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz was joined by six co-signers in announcing medical marijuana research legislation that may finally get a hearing. [GAETZ CLIP: “This legislation that we’re filing today enjoys the support and co-sponsorship of House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte”] Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, has long been one of the roadblocks to getting such marijuana bills heard in committee. Gaetz’s bill would also end the monopoly on research cannabis production currently enjoyed by the University of Mississippi. [GAETZ CLIP: “It’s sort of like getting the government cheese of cannabis to perform research – and we can do a lot better.”]

The Illinois Senate is advancing a bill to allow physicians to replace opioids with marijuana. Senate Bill 336 passed the Senate 44-6 on Thursday. The bill would allow the recommendation by a physician of medical cannabis to a patient for any “medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed by a physician based on generally accepted standards of care.” The bill also allows patients already addicted to opioids to qualify for the medical cannabis program as a means of quitting the pills.

Former New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is the latest Republican pot prohibitionist to “evolve” after smelling the money in marijuana. Guadagno lost her race for governor to Democrat Phil Murphy, who strongly supported legalization. During a gubernatorial debate, Guadagno explained her opposition. [GUADAGNO CLIP: “The one thing I would not do is legalize a controlled substance and enable drug dealers, in a state where we have three times the national average of overdoses as a result of drug overdoses, I would not legalize it just to raise revenue.”] POLITICO New Jersey Reporter Matt Friedman discovered that Guadagno’s new law firm, Connell Foley LLP, is a member of the New Jersey and National Cannabis Industry Association, touting their Cannabis Law Group’s ability to help “businesses involved in the cannabis industry… with targeted opportunities in line with their business goals.”

An analysis from one of Europe’s biggest banks says legalization of cannabis won’t make men switch from beer to buds. But the switch of women from wine to weed is definitely something alcohol manufacturers and distributors should be worried about. “The guys, the young men, we say, they’re already smoking,” said Steve Rannekleiv, Rabobank’s global beverages strategist. “It’s the people who are the more educated, more affluent, they are saying ‘if it’s legalized, I’ll give it a try.’ And that’s definitely the demographic of the wine consumer.” Rannekleiv’s analysis suggests that  women will turn to marijuana as a no-calorie substitute for wine. Rannekleiv also notes how legal cannabis is affecting farm labor, saying vineyards must now, “compete with the cannabis growers who are willing to pay workers more for easier work.”

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